Thomas Hardy ( ())


An Evening in Galilee


She looks far west towards Carmel, shading her eyes with her hand,
And she then looks east to the Jordan, and the smooth Tiberias strand.
Is my son mad? she asks; and never an answer has she,
Save from herself, aghast at the possibility.
He professes as his firm faiths things far too grotesque to be true,
And his vesture is odd  too careless for one of his fair young hue! . . . 

He lays down doctrines as if he were old  aye, fifty at least:
In the Temple he terrified me, opposing the very High-Priest!
Why did he say to me, Woman, what have I to do with thee?
O it cuts to the heart that a child of mine thus spoke to me!
And he said, too, Who is my mother?  when he knows so very well.
He might have said, Who is my father?  and Id found it hard to tell!
That no one knows but Joseph and  one other, nor ever will;
One wholl not see me again. . . . How it chanced!  I dreaming no ill! . . .

Would hed not mix with the lowest folk  like those fishermen 
The while so capable, culling new knowledge, beyond our ken! . . .
That woman of no good character, ever following him,
Adores him if I mistake not: his wish of her is but a whim
Of his madness, it may be, outmarking his lack of coherency;
After his Keep the Commandments! to smile upon such as she!
It is just what all those do who are wandering in their wit.
I dont know  dare not say  what harm may grow from it.
O a mad son is a terrible thing; it even may lead
To arrest, and death! . . . And how he can preach, expound, and read!

Here comes my husband. Shall I unveil him this tragedy-brink?
No. He has nightmares enough. Ill pray, and think, and think. . . . 
She remembers shes never put on any pot for his evening meal,
And pondering a plea looks vaguely to south of her  towards Jezreel.



Thomas Hardy's other poems:
  1. Squire Hooper
  2. The Second Visit
  3. The Strangers Song
  4. The Colonels Soliloquy
  5. The Subalterns


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